This summer, the National Gallery of Canada is taking you on a journey through some of the best French and Danish art from the 19th and early 20th centuries. Ottawa is the only North American stop for the exhibition Impressionist Treasures: The Ordrupgaard Collection which presents 76 masterpieces by Corot, Cézanne, Degas, Manet, Monet, Pissarro, Renoir and many more. Don’t miss this rare chance to admire luminous landscapes, intimate portraits and evocative still-lifes from one of Europe’s most beautiful collections!
EXCEPTIONAL PERSONAL COLLECTION
As soon as you enter the exhibit space, you’re immersed into the personal art collection of influential Danish businessman Wilhelm Hansen and his wife Henny. Take a seat on the bench and admire the large photographic mural. This is a historic image showing one of the rooms inside Ordrupgaard, the Hansens’ residence in a suburb of Copenhagen. Notice the masterpieces on the walls in the photo – you’ll see some of those same paintings in the exhibit!
In the early 20th century, Wilhelm set out to acquire twelve paintings by each of the leading French artists of the early modernist period to create a coherent overview. The resulting collection – which includes art from France and Denmark from the 19th and early 20th centuries – is now regarded as one of Europe’s most notable and beautiful surveys of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art.
The Hansens opened their doors to visitors one day a week to share their passion with the public. Upon their passing, the couple left the residence and their art collection to the Danish State, and in 1953, Ordrupgaard became a museum. Since the museum is currently closed for renovations, part of the collection is touring and the National Gallery of Canada was chosen as its only North American stop.
The Hansens’ collection represents much more than Impressionism – some pieces in the exhibit date back to the early 19th century. The first part of the exhibit focuses on 60 French paintings, followed by 16 pieces from Denmark’s Golden Age, plus the National Gallery’s own Sunshine in the Drawing Room by Vilhelm Hammershøi (1910). And to better represent the artistic evolution throughout, both sections of the exhibit are generally presented in chronological order.
The diversity in the Ordrupgaard exhibit is astounding. Landscape, portrait and still life masterpieces by male and female artists present a large variety of styles and subjects. The gilded, ornate frames are works of art in and of themselves, contrasting with the dark and light wall colours around them.
A small room between the French and Danish sections invites you to immerse yourself into the Ordrupgaard collection in different ways.
Stand under two different light filters that represent the different colour palettes used by Camille Corot and Berthe Morisot. Take selfies and see how different hues impact the mood in your photos.
Next, sit on the chair located behind the large printed scrim inspired by Camille Pissarro’s picturesque countryside scenes. As the light above illuminates you, you’ll appear to be part of the landscape to those on the other side of the scrim. A great photo souvenir!
And put your Impressionistic skills to the test at the interactive station. Recreate one of Henri Matisse’s still-life paintings using coloured cut-out pieces and play with the contrasts between mute and primary colours, just like Matisse.
FIND YOUR MATCH
Want to find out which painting from the exhibition matches your personality type? Take the Impressionist Treasures Art Match online quiz. After answering five short multiple choice questions, you’ll discover which masterpiece from the exhibition is your art match and why.
SUMMER AT THE NATIONAL GALLERY OF CANADA
Impressionist Treasures: The Ordrupgaard Collection is on view until Sept. 9, 2018. You can buy tickets online or at the museum’s box office.
Your ticket the Ordrupgaard exhibit also gives you access to the Gallery’s other special exhibits, including The Extended Moment: Fifty Years of Collecting Photographs (until Sept. 16, 2018) and Laurent Amiot: Canadian Master Silversmith (until Sept. 23, 2018).